Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Memory Monday

Yesterday you would have turned 7 months old.  I can’t help but wonder what we would be doing together and what you would look like at that age.  Instead, you are forever just shy of two months old.  Time has flown by at the same time that it has creeped forward.  I miss you so much, sweetheart.  I lied on the couch holding your urn yesterday because I needed to hold you.  It wasn’t the same.  Your beautiful soul is not in those ashes.  It is in heaven, where I can’t go yet.

When Caroline was born, we didn’t know how much time we would have with her.  We were thrilled when she was born alive and we were able to make some precious memories with her.  My husband’s parents were already in town, but my parents hit the road when my water broke.  They drove through the night but still had about 6 more hours of driving left when Caroline was born.  I hoped and prayed that Caroline would still be with us when they arrived, so that she could meet all of her grandparents.  I brought a picture of our cats to show Caroline so that she had the chance to meet her kitties if she never made it home with us.

My parents made it to the hospital in time; Caroline was still alive!  We took many pictures in the hospital and Caroline did not go one minute without being held for those first few days.  We took chalkboard pictures with Caroline, first documenting hours with her, and later on days.  Those first 24 hours were the hardest.  There were a few times where I thought I was going to lose her, tears streaming down my face, but she held on.

The grandparents had left for the night, and my mom called in the morning.  After some pleasantries, she asked, “How’s the baby?”  I was so happy to be able to say, “She made it through the night.”  We arranged for the grandparents to all come back to the hospital that day.  The nurses continued to coo over Caroline and be in awe over how well she was doing.  God showed me a miracle in my daughter.  Those first days with Caroline are the happiest days of my life, and I would do it all over again for her.

 


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Holiday Blues

We are getting to the point where we need to decide what we are doing for the holidays.  Going home to family is a plane ride away, and I want none of it.  We are getting to the point where we should book if we want to go before the prices rocket up, but my husband and I have decided that we don’t want to travel this year.  We wanted to go home for Christmas last year, but with Caroline’s condition we wanted to stay close to my OB.  So you would think that we’d be itching to go home this year… but we’re not.

The thought of watching nephews open presents without Caroline there to grab at the paper ties my stomach into knots.  The looks of pity, or worse, of “why aren’t they over it yet?” from family and friends would be too much to handle.  I’m not trying to say that my family is mean or that they would try to hurt me, but I know I would see it in their eyes.  I would feel like my grief was on display and know I’d be the gossip point of the month.  “How is Kristina doing?”  “She seems okay, I saw her laughing and smiling so it looks like she’s getting over it.”  “I don’t know, I saw her leave the room when the boys were opening presents and she didn’t come back for a while.”  “I heard her crying in the bathroom.”

Maybe it is the grief talking but a quiet Christmas at home with my husband and Caroline’s ashes is all that I feel I can handle this year.  Maybe if I went home I would find my family to be incredibly supportive and I’d have a great Christmas, but I don’t think I’m ready for that.  I need this season to miss my daughter and be permitted to feel what I need to feel.  If I want to cry all day, I want to be able to do that.

Hopefully I will feel up to going home for Christmas next year, but this first Christmas needs to be ours.  If anyone has suggestions for getting through that first holiday season, I’d love to hear them.

Missing you always, Miss Caroline.


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Memory Monday

We arrived home two days after Caroline was born.  It felt so good to be home and cradling Caroline in my arms.  The grandparents cooked everyone dinner and we started to settle into our new routine with our newborn miracle baby.

We have two cats, and their names are Nelson and Booda.  Nelson is a little grey cat, weighing about 7 pounds.  Booda is a large black cat, weighing about 18 pounds.  We did not know how they were going to react to Caroline.  Since we didn’t think we would be bringing her home, we hadn’t tried to prepare them at all.

When we walked in the door, Booda noticed Caroline immediately.  His eyes became very wide and he watched from a distance, curious about the new family member but cautious.  It took Nelson a few hours to notice Caroline; once she let out a cry he looked around with big eyes, trying to find the source of that strange new sound.

Over time, Nelson grew a soft spot in his heart for Caroline.  When I would rock her, Nelson would come sit on my lap to be close to her – something he never did before.  Booda played the role of the jealous older sibling.  He sulked over the attention he was no longer getting, but I think all the visitors we were having also made him anxious.

With the use of some aluminum foil, we were able to make the cats disinterested in Caroline’s bassinet, although Nelson would still try to jump in from time to time.  The cats hated that we would lock them out of the room at night, but we couldn’t risk them jumping into her bassinet while we slept.

It was rare to be able to get a picture of Caroline and her kitties, but there are a few that we now cherish.  Although there were times of jealousy, I think they both loved her.  I wish I could have watched them all grow up together.


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Telling Caroline’s Story

I know it’s Friday already (where does the time go?) but I  want to tell you about last weekend.

It was a nice long weekend and we took a road trip to visit friends.  It was great to get away from it all and reconnect with our friends who we had not seen in quite a while.  With that came the opportunity to share Caroline’s story several times.  We brought our photo books with us as well as the rosary that we had made, preserving Caroline’s funeral flowers.  I told stories about my pregnancy, labor, and time with my daughter.

These friends are fantastic in that they listened, asked questions, laughed with me, and cried with me.  That little bit of normal, to be able to talk about my daughter without making people uncomfortable, meant the world to me.  Caroline is all I think about and as such, all I want to talk about, but I don’t often get the opportunity.  Good listeners are hard to find.

Sharing Caroline’s story is a way that I mother her.  She is an inspiration, and I want to help her to continue inspiring people and showing people that family and health should not be taken for granted.  She is my beautiful daughter and I will never stop talking about her.  I love her and she is a part of me and who I have become.


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Wave of Light

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Today I lit a candle for my daughter.  Until this year, I knew nothing of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Now it is a day that will be marked every year with the lighting of a candle for Caroline.  It was nice to come home after a long day to light a candle and spend some time reflecting and focusing on Caroline.

Loving you always, my sweet baby girl.

 

 

~ A Prayer for Caroline ~

Dear God,

Thank you for bringing Caroline into my life.

Amidst the heartbreak and sorrow, Caroline taught us all so much.

She taught us to treasure every moment with our loved ones.

Because of her, I believe in miracles again.

She made me a mom, the role that I had anxiously awaited all my life.

Today and every day, please take good care of my daughter.  Please let her be happy in heaven and feel the sunshine that she loved so much.

Please tell her that her parents love her and miss her and will be there soon to hold her again.

Tell her that she is perfect in every way.

Tell her that her life held so much meaning.  I believe she accomplished more in 58 days than some do in 58 years.

Tell her that I love her more than words can say.

Amen


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Memory Monday

After three days in the hospital, we were all ready to go home.  As I was wheeled out the door, my husband carried Caroline in her car seat.  I distinctly remember her eyes during the walk to the car.  They were so wide and alert as we walked the halls of the hospital.  She was leaving the delivery room for the first time, and taking in all of the new sights with wonder.  She was filled with life, on her first adventure.

Those eyes are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  They let you see right through to her beautiful soul.  Caroline’s eyes and her gorgeous curly hair were enough to melt your heart.  She truly was an angel here on earth.

Missing you every second, Miss Caroline.


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Anxiety

I am anxious for a family that I don’t even know.

http://abc7news.com/health/couple-who-carried-out-bucket-list-for-baby-goes-into-labor/341873/

Although the diagnosis is different, following this family’s story has brought out my anxiety.  I think I am more nervous for them now than I was for myself when I went into labor with Caroline, because now I fully know what is coming.  In our case, the best days of our lives followed by the worst days of our lives.  I know the deep grief that comes when your child is no longer in your arms and wish I could protect people from it.

I hope that no matter what happens, they stick together as parents and are able to find peace in the fact that they gave their son an amazing life.

Sending up lots of prayers for this family tonight.